1. What does “nano” mean? What is nanotechnology? What are its purposes, which industries is it applied to?
“Nano” is a prefix that refers to one-billionth of any unit. For example, one meter is made up of one billion nanometers.
Nanotechnology is the umbrella term for all activities conducted at the invisibly small nanoscale, applied to various disciplines such as chemistry, technology, engineering, and many others. The fundamental structures of nanotechnology are nano-particles, which are as small as 100 nanometers or less. The manipulation and design of matter conducted at this scale—which is about 1/80,000 the width of a strand of human hair—is nanotechnology’s main field of study.
Nanotechnology is applied to many industries ranging from medicine to engineering, from chemistry to agriculture. While nanoparticles can be utilized for the diagnosis and treatment of certain medical conditions, it is also predicted they can be applied to the field of sustainable energy to provide eco-friendly solutions. Furthermore, nanotechnology is widely used in the industrial sector and the manufacture of end products.
To mention a few examples of the role nanotechnology plays in our daily lives; it prolongs the lifespan of food packaging, makes it possible for electronic devices to be lighter in weight, increases the resistance of sunscreens to UV rays, strengthens artificial bones, and improves the durability of vehicle surfaces against external factors.
2. What are nanotechnological nanocoatings?
Nanocoatings are invisibly thin layers developed in light of the principles of nanotechnology. When surfaces are covered in these layers, they gain various properties. Some of these are:
- Water and oil repellency
- UV resistance
- Resistance to various issues such as scratches, impact, mold, fading, and oxidation
- Prevention of bacterial growth
- Resistance to harmful chemicals
Due to these properties that improve the functionality of treated surfaces, nanocoatings are widely applied to a range of materials, products, and structures with the aim of prolonging their lifespan and increasing their ease of use.
3. What are the benefits of nanocoatings?
Surfaces that are treated with nanocoatings gain various qualities such as liquid and stain repellency or resistance against scratches and chemicals, depending on the nature of the material. Thanks to these qualities, consumers can use nanocoating-treated products more easily and smoothly, prolong the lifespan of their personal belongings or home/vehicle surfaces, and increase the financial efficiency of their purchases. These products, which become much easier to clean due to the nanocoating application, gain durability against various damaging factors, hence decreasing the time and effort consumers put into the cleaning and product care processes. Valuables and personal belongings remain in a good condition for a longer time while their value is increased.
4. What are hydrophobic coatings and the lotus effect? How are nanocoatings used for this purpose?
Hydrophobia, in this context, refers to water repellency. Surfaces that are treated with nanocoatings become hydrophobic. This way, treated surfaces repel liquids, become easy to clean, and remain stain-free.
As for the lotus effect, it is a term named after the lotus flower, which is very similar to the widely known waterlily. The aquatic lotus plant is known for its liquid and dirt-repellent leaves. This hydrophobic quality, which is also observed in other plants such as wheat and corn, helps leaves and petals to remain clean. As the surface structure of nanocoatings is inspired by the natural structure of these plants, the water repellency and easy cleaning qualities with which they provide treated surfaces are known as the lotus effect.
Nanocoatings can be applied to various surfaces for this purpose, including—but not limited to—textile, glass, ceramic, metal, wood, and natural minerals. They prevent precious clothing items and footwear from getting dirty and stained, as well as providing vehicle surfaces, wooden furniture, boat decks, and many other surfaces we use in our daily lives with hydrophobic properties and lotus effect.
5. What are the harmful effects of UV rays on various surfaces? How are nanocoatings used for this purpose?
Just like the human body, surfaces can also be harmed by UV rays. When materials that are not UV-resistant are exposed to these rays for an extended period of time, some negative outcomes such as discoloration, fading, cracking, disintegration, sunburns, breakage and loss of flexibility can be observed. These damages are generally called UV degradation.
Many types of natural and synthetic materials widely used in our daily lives are prone to UV degradation. Nanocoatings that offer UV protection can be used to prevent sun damage in various products and structures, especially those made of rubber, wood and PVC. These types of nanocoatings are specifically developed with the aim of protecting surfaces against UV degradation.
When UV-protection nanocoatings are applied to surfaces that are frequently exposed to sunlight, this invisible layer acts as a shield and prevents problems such as fading, wear, and cracking. Nanocoatings are widely applied to wooden furniture, textiles and leathers, boat surfaces and vehicle paintwork for this purpose.
6. What are stain repellency and easy-to-clean properties? How are nanocoatings used for this purpose?
As surfaces treated with nanocoatings become liquid and dirt-repellent, stain formation is prevented and the cleaning processes of these surfaces become easier. Even materials that typically cause the toughest stains cannot be absorbed into the deeper layers of the surface thanks to the nanocoating that acts as a shield, hence sliding right off the surface. Due to the hydrophobic properties and the lotus effect created by the nanocoating, dirt cannot bond to the surface and is easily wiped away without requiring traditional cleaning processes.
Nanocoatings are widely used for this purpose on textile products, car care and detailing procedures, personal belongings and home surfaces. For instance, suede shoes treated with a nano textile protection product can simply be wiped clean even after being exposed to dirt and mud. The same principle applies to nano vehicle surface protection products; they form a durable, long-lasting layer over the paintwork, preventing external factors such as rain, mud, lime, hard water, bird droppings, chemicals and gravel from forming stains and damaging the surface.
7. In which industries are nanocoatings used, and for which purposes? How do nanocoatings work?
Nanocoatings are applied to many industries for the protective layer they form over various surfaces.
In the textile and retailing industries, they are used to protect textiles and fabrics against stains, fading, wear and tear, wrinkles, UV damage, and bacterial growth. In automotive and marine industries, nanocoatings protect treated surfaces from liquids, moisture and UV rays, preventing issues like oxidation, corrosion and scratching. Similarly used on furniture, home surfaces and personal belongings due to their liquid and stain repellency, easy-to-clean properties, chemical and scratch resistance; nanocoatings offer much more effective and long-lasting performance with a smaller amount of product when compared to standard coatings.
Nanocoatings contain extremely small particles measured at the nanometer scale. This is how they form a much thinner layer over treated surfaces than standard coatings; this protective layer is invisible to the human eye and does not affect the texture or appearance of the surface in any way. The layer alters the surface energy of the treated material, providing it with properties such as liquid repellency, stain resistance, easy cleaning and durability to various damaging factors. This way, nanocoatings prolong the lifespan, facilitate the use, as well as increase the functionality and value of the end products to which they are applied.